James Kennedy Family Restaurant in Plattsburg
by Ed Chasteen
The Clinton County Courthouse is in the next block and across the street. Directly in front and visible through the big picture window as we sit for breakfast is Main Street Cleaners, est.1895. We bike here to breakfast three or four Saturdays every year. I’ve never seen CHINA before. In big red all capital letters, the word is writ large across the front of the redundant cleaners.
Dominique is our waitress this morning. I had called several days back to make sure Kennedy’s would be open this day after Christmas. I had called again this morning to say there would be four of us in about an hour. “What’s CHINA mean?” I ask Dominique. “A restaurant.” She says. And just next door to 3 Amigos—A Mexican Restaurant.
Four of us had rendezvoused at Mt. Gilead Church and School Historic Site on Plattsburg Road at eight o’clock this morning. No wind, 45 degrees, overcast, possibility of rain. Thirteen miles of rolling hills between us and breakfast in this county seat town of 2,319. A statue of David Rice Atchison stands in front of the courthouse. Atchison was a United States Senator who, according to the inscription at the base of the statue, was President of the United States for a day, March 4, 1849.
Another block up Main Street we would have needed to pedal in order to see Atchison ‘s statue JJ’s for several years was directly across the street from the court house, Atchison in full view from the front window every Saturday that we came, and their 99 cent all-you-can-eat pancakes brought us often.
But then one day when I called, no one answered. From Liberty on my bicycle I came to find the place closed. And for more than a year we removed Plattsburg from our weekly biking schedule. Then Mike Moore, a Greater Liberty Rider living in Cameron, told me about a place in Plattsburg where some riders from Cameron sometimes came. Soon after we met Mike and his riders at Miguel & Lefty’s. Then before we planned a return visit, it closed and now sits empty a few blocks over, metal bars across the front door.
For a couple of years Plattsburg fell off our ride-to-breakfast schedule. Then I heard that a new place had opened. On Main Street. A block closer to Missouri 116 than JJ’s had been. Coming into Plattsburg on state route C, we pull to a stop at 116, a convenience store to our left, the town cemetery on our right. The town straight ahead as C becomes Main Street. James Kennedy Family Restaurant on our left in the middle of the second block.
This morning is our fourth time at James Kennedy. Five years we went to JJ’s. We loved the place and grieved when it closed. Now James Kennedy! Long may it live. Often may we come.
The bill ,when Dominique brings it, offers hope, even as it is puzzling. Seems this good place has a dual identity. The door by which we entered and the menu by which we ordered say James Kennedy Family Restaurant, but the bill identifies this place as Glory Days Sports Bar and Grill.
Here”s hoping that this good place can keep Plattsburg on the list of small towns out from Liberty 90 minutes or so by bicycle and draw us hither a few times every year for breakfast. For a list of these small towns and their cafes, visit www.greaterliberty.org
Riders at breakfast today: Bill Hessel, Jason Swan, Steve Hanson, Ed Chasteen